Open Thread

For discussion of topics not related to other posts.

And here’s an interesting post I found.

118 responses to “Open Thread

  1. This seems to be getting a load of noise at the moment, thoughts ?

    • McIntyre still hasn’t audited Douglass, Spencer, Christy or Lindzen.

    • Thoughts: More of McIntyre’s embarrassing flailing about to maintain his relevance as a merchant of doubt. His beef with the recent IPCC report on renewable energy (SRREN) is (1) that it has Greenpeace cooties, and (2) the IPCC allowed a lead author to evaluate his own work. This is based on the following facts: A lead author on one of the chapters, Sven Teske, is a Greenpeace employee (renewables campaigner for Greenpeace International). And the headline message in the press release for the report, that close to 80% of world energy could be generated by renewables in 2050 given enabling policies, stems from a Greenpeace-commissioned scenario, Energy [R]evolution, on which Teske was also lead author (McIntyre links to a 2008 glossy Greenpeace report, but the updated version referenced in the SRREN is at Teske et al., 2010 – open access).

      Greenpeacy is an advocacy group, not a scientific institution, but it commissions serious work by outside experts that may legitimately be cited by the IPCC. The Energy [R]evolution scenarios were commissioned from the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics, part of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Three of the co-authors are at DLR, a fourth is at the U. of Utrecht. The supply scenarios used a model called MESAP/PlaNet (helpful intro in English here). Demand scenarios were updated from an earlier study by Ecofys, a Dutch consultancy.

      As McI has provided no technical argument to the contrary, one should assume that Teske et al. (2010) meets the criteria for inclusion among the 164 scenarios from 16 different large-scale integrated models considered in the SRREN – and that, as the high-end scenario, it merits inclusion among the four scenarios singled out for further discussion. The report clearly shows the 80% claim as the high end, and the SPM puts it in perspective by noting that more than half of the scenarios show an RE contribution of “more than 27%” in 2050.

      The IPCC working group, for better or worse, is not limited to academics with no ties to declare. Other contributors to the SRREN include big oil (at least three Chevron employees) and big nukes (at least two EdF employees). No reason not to have Greenpeace there as well, on the strength of the above-mentioned work.

      There is no substance to McI’s claims that Teske was allowed to evaluate his own work, or the general insinuation that SRREN ch. 10 was somehow controlled by whale-huggers. Teske cannot reasonably be described as “the Lead Author of the IPCC assessment of the Greenpeace scenario” (McI, emph. added), given that he was only one of eleven lead authors on that chapter. He was not even a
      coordinating lead author. Chapter 10 was co-ordinated by Manfred Fischedick (Wuppertal Institute) and Roberto Schaeffer (U. of Rio de Janeiro), and also included lead authors from the U. of Botswana, U. of Leipzig, Joint Global Change Research Institute (USA), Volker Krey International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Central European University, and Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica. It also went through two rounds of expert review.

      Oops, sorry about the length.

      • It’s hardly and independent report though is it? The 80% renewables is being touted as an ironclad guarantee in the press, and there’s a serious chance that more nations will dump the carbon-neutral nuclear option for an unlikely scenario ( 50% decrease in electricity consumption despite the need to adopt EVs). The end result will be more fossil fuel burning.

  2. You’ve nailed it – noise, not signal …

  3. Bill Gray has gone even more Emeritus at WUWT

    Here I am being goofy and trying to discuss why this is all pooey with the slaves of Watts

    • At the last AMS meeting (Seattle Jan 2011) Gray embarrassed himself by prattling on about WV feedback being negative in a session. I was there and heard him. His knowledge of the science is hopelessly out-of-date, and with his anti-AMS rant, he comes off as a Hal Lewis wanna-be with the same conspiratorial mindset, plus, in Gray’s case, his obligatory anti-modeling bilge.

      Hard to believe Colorado is one of the epicenters of the fault lines between the realists (NOAA, NCAR, etc.) and the “skeptics” (Gray, Pielke Sr.).

    • W Scott Lincoln

      It’s funny reading his diatribe about how the AMS must have decided all of this due to politics instead of science, then goes on to spout ignorance and exaggerations exactly like a politician would in a last ditch effort to save face.

      He refers to “many of us” as in members of the AMS who disagree, but not much beyond that. I’d be interested to hear if that is something more than just a small circle of his friends.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Egads, gone into one of the lower circles of hell there, haven’t you?

    • God, it’s really tough when your professional society has been hijacked by scientists.

    • I’m not going to look at either WUWT or Curry’s blog, but is she sucking up to him in his latest diatribe?

      She seems to be moving further and further from any reasonable position on the science….

    • g2-b31f1590b0e74a6d1af4639162aa7f3f

      Went over to WUWT and fried another irony-meter.

      Watts (a college dropout) had this to say about Chris:

      “REPLY: This is Chris Colose, inexperienced student, whatever. – Anthony”

  4. It’s funny reading his diatribe about how the AMS must have decided all of this due to politics instead of science

    Just like arctic ice extent, currently at its all-time minimum for this date, is apparently dominated by a bunch of solid H2O commie pinko hippie anti-tea party freaks. Apparently those molecules are mostly political in nature….

    • W Scott Lincoln

      Well, it’s just “climate variability,” duh. At least that’s what some have tried to tell me. Climate variability seems to be capable of more and more these days….

      • Well, it *is* climate variability. It’s human-induced, certainly, but the natural system *is* capable of such large swings. Possibly even on a similar timeframe, if you consider some of the really big supervolcano eruptions in the distant past.

        I mean, it might have happened perhaps as many as 3 or 4 times in the past few billion years! That makes it perfectly likely that it’s all natural now. It’s only a 1-in-500,000,000 year event!
        That’s not much worse odds than the lottery, and people win that every week!

        Note: I just pulled those numbers out of the air. Does someone know of estimates for CO2 emissions from some of the supervolcanic eruptions? Lake Toba was ~74,000 years ago, from Wikipedia, and erupted about 2,800km3 of material – but I wonder how much CO2? It was the aerosols that nearly wiped out the human race, though.

  5. Tamino, you probably have heard about this, but the Polar Science Center at the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington (running the PIOMAS Arctic sea ice volume model), has put its data online. Check the bottom of their webpage.

  6. Eamon,
    Not sure I follow you. Which report is “hardly independent” of what, exactly? What “50% decrease in electricity consumption” are you referring to? What press is managing to spin some “ironclad guarantee” out of an IPCC press release that began (emph. added): “Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies“?

  7. Chris Brown


    Is there any comment anywhere about this Christiansen and Ljungqvist paper?


  8. Tamino, I think the best curated thread about this teapot tempest for now is
    Worst threads — a tie between the blog threads on it by Lynas and Curry

  9. Steve Metzler

    Poor Chris is getting a bit of a rough ride over at WTFUWT in the comments about the AMS debacle (as would be expected: science vs. full on Dunning-Kruger). Here’s a real gem:

    Mark T says:
    June 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Chris Colose,

    I have read your posts. You are not qualified to assess the scientific literacy of others.


    Funny thing, ideology vs. reality. Watts disses the guy for being a student. But in those few short years, he has amassed an amount of knowledge that Watts and most of his peanut gallery could only dream of having. And his guest posts and comments over at RC are pitched at just the right level for me, a scientifically challenged lurker.

    Hang in there, Chris!

    • The same Mark posing as an expert and wanting to build mathematical basis with two cosines ?

    • I think Chris has acquitted himself very well there. I certainly understood his explanations and I don’t think anyone answered his questions. The condescension from those who have learned their climatology from “blog scientists” is pretty funny.

    • Speaking of which, is Chris ever going to graduate?

  10. I just don’t understand the psychology at WUWT. I’ve grown accustomed to ignoring it, but wanted to fish a little bit. Really, aside from the lack of any physics/atmospheric science understanding, there is a very weird gap between how science works and how they think science works in general. I also don’t think people appreciate the amount of research and the number of scientists around the world that actually study this for a living. I leave these forums with the impression that people think there are like 10 climate scientists out there and the whole foundation of atmospheric physics comes down to like 5 papers.

    • Steve Metzler

      Chris, hi,

      I find them to be quite like creationists, with a political ideology rather than a religious one not allowing them to see through all the FUD peddled by those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo.

      You did acquit yourself very well over there, your parting shot being especially good. I tried posting there a few times myself, but you just get ‘shouted down’ in the comments, now matter how valid the point you are making. But sometimes if it is an unassailable point, they will ignore it like it was never there. The blogging equivalent of playground bullies is what they are.

    • The other thing that is apparent is that many technically-savvy posters have an engineering background and have difficulty grasping the nuance and uncertainties of basic research. They fail to differentiate between science that is well grounded and science at the edge of knowledge. People will claim that engineering standards need to be applied but fail to understand the strength of independent confirmation.; that verification is more than running the calculations over again.

      BTW, Chris, from reading through the comments, it looks like you are in the Big Apple for the summer. Enjoy. My son is an undergrad at a music school a few blocks north from GISS and loves the area.

      • Ray Ladbury

        Don’t buy this. They aren’t even doing good engineering. Good engineering has to be conservative. It has to bound risk. This is self delusion masquerading as reason.

      • Perhaps scare quotes around the term “engineering standards” would have been appropriate. ;-)

    • Not all humans are capable of thinking for themselves.
      Put them in a situation out of their experience and the first crank that comes along with a reassuring message and they will latch on to it like my German Shepherd to a tennis ball.
      The possible results of a warming climate and the methods to stop it are too much for them to stomach or understand and so like the Shepherd and that tennis ball, they will keep a death grip on their rosy ‘it ain’t happening’ little world.

    • Well, there ARE only 10 climate scientists:
      Baliunas, Ball, Christy, Lindzen, McIntyre, Monckton, Singer, Soon, Spencer, and Watts.

      All those other mooks? They’re just pinko-leftist fascist Greenies getting fat off of Al Gore’s teat and scared of being cut off when everyone finds out they’re pulling The Greatest Hoax Ever!

  11. Arctic ice area from Cryosphere Today:

    PIOMAS volume (151 day of year):

    2006 151 23.174
    2007 151 21.891
    2008 151 22.878
    2009 151 22.463
    2010 151 19.362
    2011 151 18.647

  12. That’s exactly the impression I get, Chris!

    The other amazing thing is the level of contradiction amongst the vast majority of posters there and that it seemingly doesn’t matter – just as long as anthropogenic GHGs are nonexistent/have no effect/have an effect but it is minuscule etc etc etc!

    Crazy stuff…

    • Andrew Dodds

      What, you mean..

      – There is no global warming, because the measurements are wrong.
      – There is global warming, but it’s caused by the sun.
      – There is global warming, but it’s caused by internal, unknowable variations.
      – The planet is cooling.
      – There is no such thing as the greenhouse effect.
      – There is a greenhouse effect, but it’s 99.99% due to water
      – There is a greenhouse effect due to CO2, but it is saturated.
      – There is a greenhouse effect due to CO2, it’s not saturated, but all the CO2 is from oceanic outgassing, not man made.
      – There is no such thing as global temperature

      I’m not sure if even an electronic monk could believe that many contradictory things at the same time..

  13. Is the NAO to move further into negative territory during next decade?

  14. Vukcevic,

    During winter yes, because of the situation in the Arctic (sea-ice thinning and areal loss) I expect a greater tendency towards low NAO and the Warm Arctic Cold Continents in the coming decades as the Artic transitions to a seasonally sea-ice free state. I have found no good reason to suspect a solar influence (from your site I suspect this is your claim).

    I find your website very confusing, graphs alone are far from sufficient. The only references to the North Atlantic Precursor (NAP) that I can find are from yourself in various posts at places like WUWT and Judith Curry’s blog.

    Can you direct me to a page where you have explained the derivation of the NAP index?

  15. I’m not sure if links to campaigns are permitted, even on open threads, but if so…

    If you wish to help prevent oil from Canadian tar sands being used in Europe then please read and sign the attached petition. The UK Government is currently resisting a European Union bill that would effectively ban oil from tar sands, so the call to sign the petition is primarily directed towards UK citizens:-

  16. Vukcevic,

    As you consider your response you might want to consider the paper by Cohen et al “Winter 2009–2010: A case study of an extreme Arctic Oscillation event.” GRL 2010. Which seems to me to show that the cause of the extreme low AO event was initiated low in the atmosphere, not in the stratosphere (as I suspect a solar linkage would).

  17. Chris R
    my email is vukcevicu(at)

  18. American Tradition Institute is sueing NASA for material on Hansen now:

    A conservative group is suing NASA for records related to the outside advocacy and compensation of Dr. James Hansen, a prominent advocate for strong action to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

    In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the American Tradition Institute alleges NASA has shirked requests for records about Hansen’s compliance with ethics and disclosure obligations as they relate to payments for speeches and other work outside the government.

    Conservative group sues NASA for climate scientist’s records
    By Ben Geman – 06/22/11 02:16 PM ET

    SourceWatch: American Tradition Institute

    Same organization going after Michael Mann:

    Starting in April 2010, climate scientist Michael Mann has been subjected to a campaign of harassment, first by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who has filed subpoenas demanding that the University of Virginia produce documents related to Mann’s time there, and later by the American Tradition Institute, a free-market think tank, which has sought similar materials through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

    Timeline: Legal Harassment of Climate Scientist Michael Mann

  19. Timothy,

    I work at GISS right now and asked around a bit about this today. No one seemed to be in a particularly good mood, but a few people dismissed it as just a usual attack on Hansen, like the Soros stuff. I’d wait to see what comes out of it rather than listen to Fox News, but my impression is that no one I asked was particularly worried about it. People want to go after gavin too for mixing his professional and private life, but it’s all just typical skeptic games. The game is to cause delay and confusion.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Delay and confusion are secondary in my mind. The real goal is to get scientists to shut up and not talk about what they are learning.

      • Well, getting scientists to shut up will lead to delay and confusion, right?

        So I think that delay and confusion as the terminal goal, achieved by trying to intimidate scientists, is a reasonable statement of their goal.

        Remember, it’s all about outcome.

    • Well, it may be nothing more than a nuisance lawsuit, but it can have other functions beyond the sheer intimidation factor. Such as making it look like Hansen has something to hide, which he must have if he isn’t willing to turn over all of his personal correspondence to the Competitive Enterprise…, er, I mean… American Tradition Institute. The longer they can drag this on the more mileage.

      But if they actually got what they are asking for in this little fishing expedition they would likely bring in a bunch from “Answers in Genesis” to go over the text with a fine-tooth comb, looking for something that might sound sinister if you slurred your words and got the intonation just right. Of course there might be an investigation later on that proves everything was on the up-and-up, but the results would get scant attention in the press, and until then, presto! More mileage.

      In fact you could still get plenty of mileage after the investigation since most people won’t know about the results anyway. Airtime for insinuations is the name of the game. It breaths new life into the conspiracy theories and distracts from the actual science.

  20. FYI,

    Dr. Mann now has a response to that awful Scientific American interview of Dr. Muller. Here’s the link:

    It might be good for folks to go over and put up some “pre-emptive” well-informed pro-science posts in the discussion thread there before the howling mobs of deniers arrive and start stinking up the place…

  21. Vukcevic,
    I think it would be more productive to continue the discussion in public. There are a lot of well read people here and their input/observations may be of use.

    Can you explain how you produce the North Atlantic Precursor you use on the page you linked to?

  22. Ray Ladbury

    I noticed that in a recent post you used Akaike weights. If the two models involved have the same number of parameters, these weights reduce, effectively to the likelihood. This means that the whole procedure reduces to an application of Bayes’ Theorem assuming a flat (improper) Prior. Moreover, you’d get pretty much the same answer with an ininformative Prior. When we do model averaging, the result is then merely an expectation value for the probability distribution integrated over the nuissance variables .

    So, my question: Can we veiw the Akaike weights as likelihood corrected for the influence of model complexity for the pruposes of Bayesian model selection and averaging?

    [Response: I’m not an expert on this and certainly don’t know all the details. But I think not. When you take a fully Bayesian approach to model selection it leads to BIC rather than AIC, and I think you’d use the Bayesian Information Criterion both for model selection and averaging. In fact, if I recall correctly BIC is an approximation of the Bayes factor itself that you’d get for model selection/averaging if you fully integrate out all the nuisance parameters.]

    • Ray Ladbury

      Burnham and Anderson have argued that AIC is the result of a “smart” vs. an unintelligent Prior over the models.

      In the problem I’m looking at, AIC is somewhat problematic in any case, since you cannot guarantee the “True” model is in the subset of models you are looking at. Indeed, the basic problem we’re facing in our community, is that there has always been a single model we used to caclulate bit-flip rates on orbit. Now we have to define the model with the data as well as determining its parameters, so we’re inherently into the models selection biz. I’m trying to restrict the models considered to a “representative sample” for a given generation of electronics technology. However, it seems that one could try it with both AIC and BIC to see which was more likely to return the correct model.

      The situation is also a little complicated, because in some of the problems, some of the “parameters” could be fixed by a priori information.

  23. WARNING: Secure hot beverages before proceeding

    Check out his paper (H/T desmogblog) —

    Now for the “beverage alert” part — scroll down to the “Supplementary Information” section and check out the exam questions used to qualify “technically sophisticated skeptics” (page 20 or so) along with passing rates!

    A “little knowledge” indeed! Dunning-Kruger on steroids, anyone???

    • Seems to set a rather low bar. ;-) I guess that’s the view from Law School?
      Also they don’t appear to have heard of Zeno’s paradox.

  24. I was flipping through some old Tamino posts from the web archive, looking for short-term predictions/projections that might now be compared.

    In this post Tamino predicted GISS global anomalies for the last four months of 2009 – the prediction was made in the middle of the first of those four months – September.


    September – 0.59
    October – 0.59
    November -.0.60
    December – 0.64

    with a standard deviation of 0.12


    September – 0.65
    October – 0.61
    November – 0.68
    December – 0.61

    Not bad!

  25. I’ve been looking for this post for a while, remembering that we’re near time for checking in on breaking records in the GISS and HadCRU global temp datasets.

    “…for the HadCRUT3v data set, the 1998 record was a whopping 2.6 standard deviations above the trend line. That’s a lot! Already we should expected it to take a while to break that record….

    We see that the most likely single year in which to break the record is year 10 (2008), although there’s still considerable probability that the record will last longer than that. In fact, there’s a 6.9% chance the record will last 14 years — until 2012 — even assuming, as we have done, that global temperature is a steady increase plus random noise. Hence the “95% confidence limit” (the standard in scientific research) is 14 years; only if the record lasts beyond 2012 do we have statistically significant evidence of any change in the global warming pattern.

    The GISS record was broken in 2010, though the error bars are wider than the difference. but the HadCRU record hasn’t bee broken, and we’ve this year and the next to make it. In reality, this year is very unlikely to break the 1998 record, so that just leaves 2012.

    Tamino, is it too early to comment on the HadCRU record not yet being broken?

    • Timothy (likes zebras)

      Well, if you consider the uncertainty on the HadCRUT3 figures, there’s a reasonable probability that the 1998 record was already broken.

      If you insist on looking only at the best-guess figures, then I suppose my response would be that:

      Tamino’s model made an implicit assumption that the global temperature was simply a trend plus noise, but he and others have shown that this isn’t the case, given the effect of ENSO, volcanoes, solar, etc, on the global temperatures.

      So, with 1998 being a whopping El-Nino, the solar-cycle currently being a bit subdued, and a couple of minor volcanoes that nonetheless make the top 10 in global temperature impact (for the last 50 years), it’s perhaps not terribly surprising that we would falsify such a simple model.

  26. More revisionist history from Mosher (if you can stomach it) — linky:

    As we discussed in our book “Climategate: The CruTape Letters” The use of FOIA by Steve McIntyre, myself and others was only initiated after scientists were contacted directly for copies of their data. This data was barely a few megabytes. Yet 2 years before we even contemplating issuing an FOIA, we know from the mails that the scientists contemplated destroying the data if forced to turn it over under FOIA. When we did finally use FOIA (2007) , the scientists in question delayed in responding, and when they responded they invented false and misleading reasons for denying the requests. The Information Commissioner has found that they violated the law, but the statute of limitations has passed. Finally, 7 years after the first citizen, warwick hughes, asked the scientist for the data, 4 years after the first FOIA request for the data, and over 18 months after the denial of appeals, the ICO has ordered the scientists to turn the data over. Seven years. I believe we have been quite patient. The story began with a simple request from a citizen to a scientist: I read your paper, can you send me a copy of the data? 7 years later, after denials, FOIAs, lies, appeals, stolen mails, the data will finally be free. I have a hard time reconciling these historical facts with the rubbish AAAS wrote:

    “The sharing of research data is vastly different from unreasonable, excessive Freedom of Information Act requests for personal information and voluminous data that are then used to harass and intimidate scientists,” said AAAS, which bills itself as the world’s largest scientific society. “The latter serve only as a distraction and make no constructive contribution to the public discourse.”

    But for the scientists who refused polite requests from citizens to see the data their tax dollars paid for, but for their refusal to share data, but for their false excuses, there would never been an FOIA fiasco. I should know. I was there.

    • I posted there, pointing out that the Met Office is an agency of the Ministry of Defence and is a Trading Fund. The Ministry of Defence receives millions in dividends each year from the Met Office which pays for itself. The Met Office has zero duty to the taxpayer and 100% duty to its owner, the MoD. Just how it is, no matter how much it stinks. And Jones was working to get the data made public long before Climategate.

      Given the libertarian and conservative leanings of many deniers, it’s quite baffling watching them get in a tizzy over a government office paying its own way with little financial burden on the taxpayer, with the added bonus of a financial contribution to the British Armed Forces. How do the dummies think that could be made possible?

  27. Mosher and McIntyre will answer to God for what they’ve done. That’s my personal view, anyway.

  28. Ray Ladbury

    Moshpit: “I should know. I was there. ”

    Well, yes, but he’s never been all there, really, now has he?

  29. I really have nothing but admiration for Nick Stokes; I don’t know how he stands it.

    McI. lording it like the pompous, self-important, “auditing”, failed research slob he is, on past form incapable of working scientifically and challenging with his own work, and his cast of supporters yipping round like a troupe of monkeys in a hot bath unable to work the cold tap.

    But with the Wegman Diversion now sunk, (taken in either by accident but more likely design by McMath – like McJobs, but less empowering) Steve is now as irrelevant as a post-surface station Watts. A dead rump that’s flailing round with it’s pointy head cut off.

    It’ll take the bathfull of monkeys a while to find another focus, but in the meantime maybe a cool, uninterrupted one point five trillion of petroprofit has been delivered. That may have well have been Steve’s job all along, the rest was just a bonus for the corporate myth and ideology.

  30. On this 4th of July, I hope that Tamino is taking steps to derail a repeat of the previous July 4th fiasco. I recommend flying a U.S. flag that is at least one square foot larger than any flown by Mr. Watts, thus demonstrating a love of America at least equal, and possibly exceeding, that of Watts.

    • There’s different ways of homeland love manifesting… For instance, tamino could add to his blogroll. Think the your nation needs good entertaining debunk of the ”best science blog of long ago”, then tamino can focus on the real stuff that matters ;O)

    • I always like the reading of the Declaration on: NPR, pondering the fact that the Continental Congress was seeking to enact measures for the public good. The public good – what a concept; seems almost revolutionary.

  31. New PIOMAS chart out tonight.

  32. Robert Murphy

    UAH has the June temp anomalies out: +.31C, which is up from May’s +.13C.
    Looks like the “rapid cooling” is over. Funny how that happens at the end of every La Nina, almost like climate scientists had *predicted* it or something. :)

    • Roy Spencer is also plugging his latest book on that page: ‘Fundanomics. The Free Market, Simplified’. Talk about letting your petticoats show.

    • Maybe out of context, but it leaves one to think that Roy Spencer has a little issue with scientific accuracy when his latest posts at the end says… but I don’t really care

      Anyway, I’ve plotted the RSS temps into the UAH’s and kept the 38 period mov. avg, which now fractionally is the new peak in that series UAH derived trend series. Yes, June 2011 is showing record whilst SOI is flat absolute neutral… is there more in store? You bet yah!

      PS, are Lukewarmers those not fully convinced of AGW?… searched and found some attempt at a definition? At any rate, there’s some polite/veiled wind in opposite direction to Dr. Roy in there. Would he respond, or does he really not care? Who cares ;P

  33. New PIOMAS chart out tonight.


    • Yeah, big time. Just like last year, a plunge.

      • The IJIS sea ice extent graph is interesting, too:

        One can see a parallel (literally) with 2007 at this point. Will be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of weeks.

  34. Each tick mark on that PIOMAS chart is 1000 km3.

    Roughly 3 * 10 ^ 20 joules are required to melt that.

    Which is the energy equivalent of something like 70,000 megaton bombs.

  35. Tamino, I really think you should register at MunichRe if you haven’t done so already. It gives you access to the worlds largest database of natural catastrophes. I think many interesting posts would come out of it if you start analyzing that data.

  36. Hey, Tamino, check out the latest stupidity over at WUWT:

    Seems like a bad model, that’s been known not to match the data for over a decade (based on errors in Friis-Christiansen & Lassen).

    The bad model is then driven by highly questionable forecasts of the next five solar cycles.

    Archibald then applies it for temperature predictions at one specific town in New Hampshire … for the next 40 years.

    As if none of that were enough, he apparently miscalculates something, and predicts extended cooling when his model actually should forecast warming.

    Is this a contender for the worst WUWT post ever? Or at least since the Great Anomaly Histogram Fiasco?

  37. Just noticed that June featured the lowest stratospheric temps in the record:

    I wonder what an analysis of stratospheric trends would show? Grist, maybe, for a future post here?

    On another topic, I note dhogaza’s comment from the 8th:

    “It will be interesting to see what happens [with IJIS sea ice extent] over the next couple of weeks.”

    Too right, my friend–IJIS heightened the drama by going offline on the 11th, then wowed us today by revealing that some gaudy ice loss numbers indeed had been posted. As of today, 2011 is running something like 265,000 km2 *below* where 2007 was on this date. (Perhaps needless to say, that’s a record.) The ‘death spiral’ continues.

  38. Igor Samoylenko

    The denialists again have managed to shoot themselves in a foot. WUWT put up a post (copied from Bishop Hill) about a “devastating paper on IPCC consensus”. The referenced paper is by Jean Goodwin from Iowa State University. The main focus of the paper is FAR, the rhetorical strategy behind it and the critique of the strategy. The main objective of this critique is “to sketch an account of the IPCC’s rhetorical design which suggests that its success came at a price—a price which included contributing to the decades of political controversy over anthropogenic warming which it finally (at least for now) put to rest.”

    It all sounds fair enough to me. A reasonable topic for a paper. It is interesting to see if a different rhetorical strategy could have reduced the dogged opposition to science over the last 20 years and resulted in more political action (seems unlikely to me but still).

    Then quoting directly from the conclusion of the paper:

    Naomi Oreskes has argued that “denialist” demands for “scientific proof” are fundamentally ill conceived; what science can offer public policy is not proof, but consensus. In one way, my account of the IPCC’s rhetorical strategy suggests that she is right. A scientific consensus,claimed for the IPCC’s First Assessment Report and then painstakingly “manufactured” in response to objections, forced an alteration the state of policy discourse. Today, I believe, no public figure or organization that wants to remain mainstream can openly question the existence of anthropogenic global warming. To do so would be to go against the authority of science.

    From another perspective, however, I have been arguing that the IPCC’s rhetorical strategy was a catastrophic success. Instead of taking “denialism” as a last-ditch rhetorical tactic which illegitimately manufactures” doubt, I have suggested that claims to authority open an argument space within which “denialist” objections are entirely legitimate. A defensible consensus on climate change was at last achieved, overcoming these objections. But it took two decades to fulfill the commitments undertaken in the initial consensus claim; an extreme example of Collins & Evans’ rule that “the speed of political decision-making is faster than the speed of scientific consensus formation” (Collins and Evans 269). Throughout this period, the interests opposing action on climate change were happy to agree with the IPCC that more research and yet another report was needed to reduce uncertainties (Shackley and Wynne). And the ultimate success of the consensus has produced no discernable policy results, since there remain plenty of ways of arguing against mitigation or adaptation, even in the face of undeniable global change.

    (emphasis mine)

    The denialists just picked a few phrases from the paper (the author mentions “manufactured consensus” etc) without actually reading it, mapped them to their own distorted impressions of what the author meant by them and went on to claim blindly yet another devastation for IPCC.

    It is hilarious to see the denialists endorsing so enthusiastically the paper that has the above highlighted passages in its very conclusion! This looks like cherry-picking taken to another level.

    Devastating indeed, but not for IPCC (or the consensus, or the climate science)…

    • He gets the authors first name wrong (Jean not Jane) and the quote in his post is not even from Goodwin’s paper, it’s a quote from Kieth Lehrer which Curry quotes in an earlier blog post on agnotology and agoiology. Ironic, and actually quite funny :)

      • Igor Samoylenko

        Indeed. The “sceptics” are just too quick to jump to their conclusions. Who needs to actually read the referenced papers (or better still to understand them)?

        And I found Curry’s post with a discussion of the paper is an muddled as ever…

  39. Ray Ladbury

    In a way, I agree that the IPCC was an unfortunate innovation. It gave the denialists a focus–and a focus associated with the UN at that. There is a substantial percentage of Americans who will never believe anything that comes out of a “world government”. Most cannot even stand national or even local government.

    Science, as normally practiced is anarchic–authoritative without authoritarianism. It may well be that the IPCC has actually slowed the response to the climate crisis even as it has gotten the science right.

  40. Igor Samoylenko

    Ray: “There is a substantial percentage of Americans who will never believe anything that comes out of a “world government”. Most cannot even stand national or even local government.”

    Just last week as I was reading an article about comparative analysis of drug effectiveness in the latest issue of Scientific American, I came across a reference to this quote from the paper by Chalkidou and Walley (2010):

    “no other developed or developing healthcare system and its users view evidence as suspiciously as US stakeholders, including the medical technology industry and a large proportion of policy makers.”

    From the history of the backlash against AGW in the US, I can conclude that this suspicion towards evidence applies to most (if not all) of science, not just medicine. Adding this to your list above makes it clear why IPCC had its work cut out for it from the start, particularly in the US. This is why I am sceptical about attempts to see the rhetorical strategy as the cause of the disconnect between the science and policy makers (and the population).

    Ray: “Science, as normally practiced is anarchic”.

    Again, just in this last issue of the SciAm, there was a brief note about the latest results in the attempts to detect dark matter. There are several competing groups involved in this. One physicist from one group was quoted as referring to the results of the other group as “pure, weapons-grade balonium”. :-) It just goes to show I think that having a consensus on anything in any field is a remarkable achievement.

    Some see consensus as a loaded word. But to me it is a perfectly meaningful concept, reflecting the weight of opinion of the expert group as a whole. The consensus opinion always reflects the preponderance of evidence; how else would you ever get diverse and competing groups of researchers to agree on anything? I also don’t have a problem with the phrase “science is settled” – when it is applied properly of course (i.e. to some key conclusions where the current weight of evidence is such that it is unlikely that these conclusions will change significantly as more evidence comes in). Having said this I can also see that the phrase is very easy to misrepresent and why most scientists tend to avoid using it.

    I think the strategy to seek a clear consensus on important issues (with clear and easily understood confidence levels), as well as to quantify uncertainties (and put them into context) as employed by the IPCC is a perfectly reasonable way to try and present science in a form relevant to decision making. I also don’t think that the failure to act on this scientific advice has much to do with the science itself or the way it is presented (as in the rhetorical strategies used by the IPCC that Goodwin critiqued).

    If we fail to act on this best-informed scientific advice and this failure to act (or act in time) leads to a collapse of the civilization due to AGW, the IPCC assessment reports should be inscribed in its tomb stone. Cannot say we haven’t been warned… Personally though I think we will act. It will be late of course and the effort required will be massive due to the delay but I think we will act, once it becomes clear to a large proportion of the population where we are heading…

  41. The recent Schellnhuber ‘noose’ incident was the last straw for me; collating a number of Deltoid’s posts–all of which have been linked on this site in the past–with some other incidents in which (shall we say) the use of reason to settle ‘debate’ has been in abeyance, I wrote an article calling like I see it. Don’t know if it was the ‘right’ thing to do–but I felt compelled. Judge for yourself:

  42. I haven’t had time to read the actually study, but I’ve seen this “analysis” by the blogosphere in several places so I’m wondering what others might think.

    • How many times have we seen that headline before?

      Repetition is unlikely to make it true. Particularly when Spencer is involved! And the trifecta of Spencer, Heartland and E&E makes me not even interested in finding out how the lie was spun.

      Let the wolf eat them. I don’t believe them.

    • More IRIS from Roy?

    • Boy, James Taylor is into that comments thread with his baseball bat out. He really should’ve retired after “Sweet Baby James”.

  43. Chris O'Neill

    I’ve seen this “analysis” by the blogosphere in several places

    Yes, seeing it in “several” places gives it a lot more credibility than if it was just in one. Sure.

    • Too true. I know this interpretation is pretty much bunk, but I was surprised (although at this point I don’t know why) by how fast sites had the exact same title. It smells fishy, but as I said, I hadn’t read or even looked at the original paper. I know something must be up like when someone tells me there’s $1M waiting for me in a bank account if I just give over my SSN but I was curious as to exactly what.

  44. Stacy Herbert at the Max Kaiser Report ( has a blog entry that examines parts of the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik. Breivik who slaughtered almost 100 people in Norway had some pretty strong feelings on AGW and their proponents the eco-communists. It seems Breivik was a fan of a another fanatic we are all familiar with namely Lord Moncktion. Breivik’s ramblings against AGW contained a Moncton video. In it the source of Moncktion’s fanaticism is made clear as he rails against the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, the establishment of a world government to redistribute wealth and basically the Conference’s socialist agenda. Monction read the treaty he assures his audience, and warns Obama is ready to cede US sovereignty.

    The sick feeding off the sick:

    There is no innocence in Monckton’s inane notions on climate science. Monckton is nothing more than an extremist right wing attack dog disguising his extremist agenda behind his fraudulent attempts at climate science.

    How utterly pathetic is it that the US Congress would actually give this extremist a chance to promote his views in hearings on climate change.

    [Response: Let’s not confuse Monckton’s kind of extremism with Breivik’s.]

    • What, Monckton? He who proposed that everybody with AIDS “should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently”?

      [Response: Proposing something despicable is one thing. Pulling the trigger to kill children is another.

      If you want to lambast Monckton go right ahead, but base it on Monckton’s actions. Breivik was a homicidal maniac. Comparisons are not appropriate, please let’s not go there.]

      • Before Breivik was a homicidal maniac, he was not that different than Mockton.

        Up until Breivik exploded the bomb, there was little difference.

        Hopefully Monckton won’t go that far round the bend, or won’t inspire an equally crazy younger person to do the same (this kind of stuff is usually associated with youth, and I’m old enough to consider Breivik’s 32 years to be “youth”)

        Don’t attempt to put too much distance between those who act, and those who rant about action.

        Of course, Glen Beck’s at the bottom of the shitpile, stating that those killed were equivalent to the Hitler Youth (implying they were worth killing).

        Also noteworthy is Lubos Motl, whose only objection is that the action wasn’t justified *today* (Rabett Run) … that things aren’t that bad *yet*.

      • Gavin's Pussycat

        > Breivik was a homicidal maniac
        That’s not how it appears to me: he knew precisely what he was doing.
        Now of course you can say that anybody doing a thing like this must be a maniac, but that’s circular.

        > Response: Proposing something despicable is one thing.
        > Pulling the trigger to kill children is another.

        Hmm, no, I don’t think that a personal preference for delegating the dirty work should be an extenuating circumstance. I’m sorry tamino, but I don’t think you’re seeing this clearly.

      • Glad I caught this discussion. I’ll be citing the DeSmogBlog piece on Breivik as an update to my “Green Fascism” article; I think it’s important to document this kind of thing. I’ll post any incidents of threats, or (God forbid) actual violence readers may come across if I’m apprised of them.

        Let’s hope we don’t need any more updates.

  45. Hi, the people that participate here have been very helpful to me in the past sorting through the noise out there so I would like to ask for some help again. As a layman (as my name indicates) I am not always able to understand what information is relevant or even legitimate. I would like to hear from people about this attached article.

    Is this important information? Is there any validity to it? Is it relevant? Is it actually new?

    Thanks as always for your insights.

    • Some discussion here:

    • The headline is complete fiction. Few people will care enough to delve past that and sift for any truth in the actual paper. Which is likely to be sparse, given Spencer’s record.

      Hot air. Feel free to ignore it.

    • A little more specifically, here’s the conclusion of the abstract:

      the satellite-based metrics for the period 2000–2010 depart substantially in the direction of
      lower climate sensitivity from those similarly computed from coupled climate models, we
      find that, with traditional methods, it is not possible to accurately quantify this discrepancy
      in terms of the feedbacks which determine climate sensitivity. It is concluded that
      atmospheric feedback diagnosis of the climate system remains an unsolved problem, due
      primarily to the inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in
      satellite radiative budget observations.

      The short version: no, this paper does not even claim to ‘blow a gaping hole’ in anything.

  46. The latest issue of Nature covered the Heartland Conference. In the article was this interesting paragraph:

    [Heartland founder Joe] Bast happily acknowledges hand-picking data to support his position, but argues that scientists on the other side do the same thing when they are building a case for global warming. He also says it is only natural that a libertarian like him would decide to question the scientific foundation for climate change. Getting serious about global warming means implementing government regulation, going after industry, raising taxes, interfering in markets — all anathema to a conservative agenda. “The left has no reason to look under the hood of global warming,” he says. “The right does, and that’s what happened.”

    Political motivation, much? And this from Joe Bast: “We’ve won the public opinion debate, and we’ve won the political debate as well. But the scientific debate is a source of enormous frustration.” Maybe because the science keeps indicating the “wrong” conclusions?

    • All they have won is the La Nina debate, and it is not much of a victory. If Smith et al 2007 is right, public opinion will turn on a dime.

  47. That last quote is just amazing.

    Upon rereading the article that I posted it’s pretty clear that the language used is politically motivated (e.g. referring to “alarmist climate models”).

    Thanks for the feedback.

  48. Hm, Google only finds that Forbes URL at 14 locations as of the moment.
    I wonder if the copypaste contingent is busy spreading something else?

    • They seem to be all excited about the suspended arctic researcher for one thing.

    • As of right now, Google finds it posted over 3,000 times. I guess the copypaste brigade has it in their queue. I wonder how many unique IP addresses were used to grind those out.

      • Ah, but they’re not all favourable reviews at all. Even CafeMom gets the picture.

        “Some of you may have heard of a pack of paid shills called The Heartland Institute.”

        There’s something different about the lauding of this paper. It’s much more subdued than usual.